Home ShipmanagementMarine Equipment Products and Services UKHO calls for ship owners to liaise with ECDIS manufacturers over new IHO ECDIS Standards

UKHO calls for ship owners to liaise with ECDIS manufacturers over new IHO ECDIS Standards

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Tom Mellor

Tom Mellor

IHO announces new ECDIS Standards; 12 months to complete transition.

Following the announcement of updated ECDIS Standards by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the UKHO is encouraging all ship owners to speak to their ECDIS manufacturers to ensure a smooth, timely transition.

The technical standards that govern the display of Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) within an ECDIS are the responsibility of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the international body that co-ordinates the activities of the community of national hydrographic offices.

Most notable is the updated Presentation Library within ‘S-52’; the standard which is responsible for the portrayal of an ENC on an ECDIS screen. The UKHO takes the safety and integrity of the data they provide as being of paramount importance, and want the mariner to see all the information provided whether it’s on an ADMIRALTY paper chart or as an ENC. However, without the latest Presentation Library (version 4.0) this won’t be the case with an ENC.

The IHO has listened to mariner feedback. The latest Presentation Library (version 4.0) addresses the number one complaint leveled at ECDIS; constant audible alarms. By providing clear guidance to ECDIS manufacturers on ENC objects that will raise an alarm, the IHO has tackled the issue of alarm fatigue on the bridge. Also, information such as fairway and anchorage area names now appear on screen, with landmarks, lights and buoys viewable via a ‘hover-over’ function. Both initiatives reduce the time-consuming need to find information buried in a pick report.

The new ECDIS testing standard publication date is expected to be Aug 15th. From this date the new edition of S-52 will be the reference for the type approval of new ECDIS. Existing ECDIS will have to be upgraded to the latest Presentation Library within twelve months.

Tom Mellor is the UKHO Head of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Support & Digital Standards and also the Chairman of the IHO’s ENC Working Group.

“Much is being written about the mandatory carriage of ECDIS, but one of the most important initiatives currently underway is the revision to the technical standards for ECDIS. Ship owners are encouraged to contact their ECDIS manufacturer and to plan early for the transition to the updated ECDIS Standards, in order to ensure a smooth switchover and to take advantage of the benefits that the new editions will bring to the bridge. The upgrade requirements will vary between different ECDIS makes and models, so it is important that owners work together with their ECDIS manufacturers to identify the steps that need to be taken for all ECDIS systems across their fleet.”

The UKHO will continue to offer guidance for ship owners, operators and managers through its global ‘Living with ECDIS’ seminars. Further details and online booking for these free events can be found at bit.ly/ECDISSeminars.

About the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office

UKHO produces a worldwide series of some 3, 500 paper nautical charts, 200 publications under the ADMIRALTY Nautical Products & Services brand and Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs). The ADMIRALTY Nautical Products & Services portfolio is sold globally and used by over 90% of the ships trading internationally.
UKHO, an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Defence, has been charting the world’s oceans for more than 200 years with the primary aim of providing navigational products and services for the Royal Navy and merchant mariners to save and protect lives at sea. In addition it serves small craft and leisure mariners and provides a range of consultancy services.
UKHO also plays a central role, in support of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, in discharging the navigation element of the UK’s Safety of Life at Sea Treaty obligations for waters of UK national responsibility.


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